Auction Round 1 Bidding Totals $17.7 Billion

WASHINGTON—Today’s opening round of bidding by wireless providers in the fourth round of the spectrum incentive auction yielded $17.7 billion—enough to cover the $10 billion that broadcasters asked for 84 MHz of spectrum in the reverse auction, but not enough to meet the first closing criteria of $1.25 MHz/Pop. A second round of bidding will commence at 2 p.m Eastern.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Federal Communications Commission said it was changing the first component of the final stage rule, which must be met to close the auction: “Beginning in Stage 4, the first component of the final stage rule is no longer based on auction proceeds, but instead will be met when the average price per MHz/Pop for Category 1 blocks in the high-demand PEAs (PEAs 1-40) is at least $1.25 per MHz/Pop.”

Category 1 spectrum represents frequency blocks within the partial economic areas (PEAs) with 15 percent or less interference. That actual price reached in the first round of bidding this morning was off by less than three cents: $1.2239, according to the FCC’s auction dashboard.

The second component comprises broadcaster ask—$10,054,676,822—“plus approximately $1.9 billion of other cost requirements,” the commission said.

The second round of Stage 4 forward-auction bidding will conclude today at 4 p.m. Eastern.

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